Siemens Gamesa will install a wind turbine of around 21 MW and between 270 and 280 meters in rotor diameter

Who said we had to slow down product development? Rumors are confirmed: Siemens Gamesa will install a prototype that, pending official confirmation, will have a power of 21 MW and a rotor diameter between 270 and 280 meters. This will mean that, unless a Chinese manufacturer beats them to it, this prototype will become the most powerful wind turbine in the world in operation.

This is something we already hinted at last January in edition #65. According to the information available back then, Siemens Gamesa was going to install what was set to be the most powerful wind turbine in the world during this year 2024.

The rumor leaked through different media and was confirmed thanks to the documentation published by the European Commission through the Innovation Funds with which the project had been awarded. That documentation mentioned the HIPPOW project (Highly Innovative Prototype of the most Powerful Offshore Wind turbine generator). The name already gave clues.

Now, Windpowermonthly, with the hand of Eize de Vries (always a pleasure to read), and citing conversations during the Wind Europe fair, has provided many more details about what will once operational be the most powerful wind turbine in the world if nothing and no one stops it.

Some technical details of the new hypothetical “SG 21-276 DD” have been leaked by industry sources and others making logical extrapolations from existing models in SGRE’s portfolio:

  • There is talk of blades of 135 meters, which considering a hub of 6 meters would give a total rotor of 276 meters.
  • The 21 MW is an extrapolation based on a power density of 350 W/m2, in line with other offshore platforms from Siemens Gamesa.
  • Quoting sources from the fair, Eize comments that the nacelle + hub would weigh about 1,000 tons. As a comparison, the medium-speed design + permanent magnet generator of the Mingyang MySE 18-292 weighs less than 800 tons.

In summary, going from 14 MW and 236 m to 21 MW and 276 m represents a 50% increase in power and a 37% increase in the swept area of the blades. This translates to an increase in AEP (Annual Energy Production) for the same location of between 30 and 35%. Quite something.

“Want to slow down product development? Well, here’s 21 MW,” someone once said at Siemens Gamesa’s offices

Siemens Gamesa has indeed kept the secret exceptionally well, considering that it must not be easy to hide the development of a machine of these characteristics. In the end, in the process of developing a prototype, many suppliers need to be involved, and it’s not difficult for someone to spill the beans, even after signing strict confidentiality agreements.

However, when it comes to the final stages of the project, when public documentation needs to be submitted to administrations for permits, etc., it’s simply impossible to maintain confidentiality.

And what is the goal of all this secrecy? Two things come to mind:

  • First, not to create too many expectations in the market and among its customers (so they don’t rush into the 21 MW turbine too quickly in their development projects).
  • Second, to catch the competition by surprise. I see this second one as more difficult, as I’m sure both Vestas and GE would already know what was going on. But hey, it never hurts to gain every possible advantage.

Indeed, now both Vestas and GE are forced to take a step further in product development if they want to keep up with SGRE.

In the case of Vestas, for now, there is no news of new developments. In fact, they are currently in full industrialization and scaling up production of the V236, which has orders (including signed, conditional, and preferred) worth more than 14 GWs in the coming years. Vestas has also been quite active lately campaigning to slow down product development.

V236-15.0 MW™ journey | Vestas

The case of GE is perhaps more concerning, as they recently announced to shareholders that they will focus on a 15.5 MW version of the Haliade X, having canceled/stalled the development of the 18 MW version. This aligns perfectly with the latest news of canceled projects in New York due to the unavailability of this 18 MW model. It seems that GE is confident in making the 15.5 MW model profitable and sustaining it in the market for more years than initially planned.

As for the Chinese manufacturers, there isn’t much to say. Although news of increasingly larger turbines often comes from China and it seems clear that they do not want to slow down product development, we know that their presence in Europe is minimal onshore and non-existent (except for a very particular case in Italy and a prototype in the UK) offshore.

The manufacturer putting the most effort into international offshore expansion, Mingyang, did unveil a 22 MW turbine a few months ago with a 310-meter rotor diameter. We also know that they have already manufactured the nacelle and at least one blade for their 18-20 MW model. Additionally, if I’m not mistaken, their MySE 16-260 is currently the largest and most powerful turbine prototype in operation in the world.

In any case, unless their plans to open a factory in Scotland materialize, I wouldn’t expect them to enter the European market soon.

We’ll be keeping an eye on the news about the new Siemens Gamesa prototype, which I’m really looking forward to seeing.

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? Goldwind to open a wind turbine factory in Brazil.

The Chinese wind turbine manufacturer Goldwind will open a factory in the state of Bahia, in northwestern Brazil. If I’m not mistaken, this factory would be Goldwind’s first outside its domestic market.

In reality, it is an existing factory that belonged to GE in the municipality of Camaçari, which Goldwind will now reopen to manufacture wind turbines there. The Brazilian market is of considerable size, having been the world’s third-largest market after China and the United States in 2023.

According to reports in the Brazilian press, Goldwind will manufacture wind turbines ranging from 6 to 8 MW, in line with the capacities being installed in that market.


?? Lithuania holds an offshore auction… and only one participant shows up

At the end of last year, Lithuania launched its first auction for offshore maritime space. An auction in which only two companies participated, with one of them being a consortium including the Ignitis Group, a Lithuanian state energy company.

Well, Lithuania has now held a second auction, and this time only the Ignitis Group participated. The consequence is that the auction has been canceled as the regulations required a minimum of two bidders to consider it “competitive.”

This is an example that it is not enough to just hold auctions to attract investment; the regulatory framework must be appropriate and without excessive risks to make the entry of international players into the country attractive.

Now, the country plans to relaunch the process.


? GWEC’s reaction to the EU investigation of Chinese manufacturers

In the latest edition, the topic of the week was the investigation opened by the EU into Chinese manufacturers for alleged irregularities in the sale of turbines in 5 European countries.

Windletter #76 - The EU investigates Chinese manufacturersWindletter #76 – The EU investigates Chinese manufacturersSergio Fdez Munguía·Apr 12Read full story

The GWEC (Global Wind Energy Council) has reacted to the EU’s investigation into Chinese manufacturers with a press release that doesn’t take a strong stance but still hints at differences between its discourse and that of Wind Europe.

In the press release, the GWEC advocates for “fostering a fair, open, and transparent trading environment for global wind energy.”

It’s worth noting that the GWEC is the global industry association, and it also includes significant representation from Chinese manufacturers. Reading the GWEC’s reaction to this issue helps to appreciate the differences.


? Dismantling wind turbine blades with explosives

Today’s curiosity comes from Controlled Demolition Inc., a company whose name gives us a clear idea of what they do.

There are plenty of videos online showing wind turbine dismantling using explosives, but I had never seen one like this before. Instead of using explosives to dismantle the entire wind turbine, they are used solely to remove the blades.

At first glance, it may seem sacrilegious, but thinking about it objectively, this type of dismantling avoids the use of large cranes and allows the blades to be removed in no time.

The end client themselves defends in the comments on LinkedIn that it is the safest and best solution for the environment.

What do you think?


? What is expected from the new auctions in Spain

Interesting interview by Milena Giorgi with the CEO of AEE, Juan Virgilio, regarding Teresa Ribera’s recent announcement to resume renewable auctions in Spain.

The interview touches on topics such as the necessity or unnecessity of auctions, their design, differences with photovoltaics, what would be a realistic price, value vs price, volumes…

It’s worth checking out Energía Estratégica to take a look.


? Europe’s first commercial-scale floating wind farm has obtained all permits

Norwegian company Vårgrønn and Scottish company Flotation Energy have secured all permits for the Green Volt floating wind farm located in Scotland.

This positions Green Volt to be Europe’s first commercial-scale floating wind farm. According to available information, the farm will have up to 35 wind turbines with a total capacity of up to 560 MW. This would give us 16 MW per turbine, a capacity not yet achieved by any Western OEM with their current portfolios.

The project will not only feed its electricity into the grid but also supply platforms for oil and gas. It’s expected to be operational by 2029 and could reduce CO2 emissions associated with electricity generation on these platforms by 80%.


?? The incredible civil engineering of this wind farm in South Korea

Continuing with curiosities, I’ve been amazed by the civil engineering design of the roads and platforms of this wind farm in South Korea that I saw on LinkedIn.

The images were shared by Matthieu Pierru, Expert Installation Wind Turbine at Enercon, and they are truly impressive. As you can see, the design of roads and platforms is remarkable, with everything adjusted to the millimeter and the crane, still unhoisted, maneuvering to fit into the available space.

Matthieu mentioned that he will share future videos showcasing the assembly strategy of the wind turbines, so we will be on the lookout.

I don’t recall seeing anything similar. If you know of parks with impressive designs like this one, I’d be delighted if you could send links.